Best Medial Tricep Head Exercises — The Complete Guide

If you’re looking to build meaty triceps with a perfect horseshoe, you will have to add the following medial tricep head exercises to your workout routine. First, let’s discuss some basic anatomy and functions of the tricep muscles.

The triceps brachii is made up of three heads — lateral, medial, and long. The long head goes along the back of the arm along the body and forms the bulk of the triceps.. The lateral head, which is located on the outer side of the humerus, is what gives bodybuilders their signature ‘horseshoe’ look.

Meanwhile, the medial head is the smallest of the three and sits between the lateral and long heads, just above the elbow. Despite its small size, it performs various functions, including:

  • Helps perfect the ‘horseshoe’ shape.
  • Provides elbow stability
  • Acts as a bridge between the other two heads, aids in their growth
  • Enables more precise movements during tricep exercises
Triceps anatomy (Image via Instagram @adrian.delorey)
Triceps anatomy (Image via Instagram @adrian.delorey)

Therefore, choosing the right medial tricep head exercises can have a significant effect on your workout routine.

Complete Guide to Medial Tricep Head Exercises

1) Reverse Grip Pushdown

Reverse grip pushdowns are one of the most effective medial tricep head exercises to isolate the muscle properly. Lighter weights and higher reps are optimal for this movement.


  • Attach a straight bar to a cable machine.You can also use an EZ bar.
  • Grab the bar with a palms-up, underhand grip.
  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, and keep your elbows close to your torso.
  • Lower the bar downwards while extending your arms (move only your forearms).
  • Hold the contraction for a second. Return to the starting point. Repeat.
  • Perform 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps.

2) Reverse Grip Press

Reverse grip presses are one of the best medial tricep head exercises due to the following reasons:

  • Helps you load the medial tricep heavier.
  • Removes strain off shoulder and elbow joint, making it ideal for those with shoulder or elbow pain.
  • Can be done using barbells or dumbbells


  • Using a grip similar to that of a bicep curl, grab the barbell or dumbbell.
  • Pack your shoulders, torso, and legs as you would for a normal bench press.
  • Brace your core, and slowly lower the weight towards your chest.
  • Pause for a second, and press back up. Repeat
  • Perform 3 sets of 6-20 reps. Start light.

3) Tate Press

Tate Presses (Image via Instagram @augustschmidt1)
Tate Presses (Image via Instagram @augustschmidt1)

This exercise was discovered by elite powerlifter and famous coach Dave Tate. What makes this exercise different from other medial tricep exercises is its ability to create a deep stretch, which results in greater strength gain and hypertrophy.


  • Set up as you would for a normal dumbbell bench press.
  • Position the dumbbells straight over the shoulders, brace your core, and pack your shoulder blades.
  • Bend your elbows till the dumbbells make slight contact with your chest. Keep the tricep contracted throughout the movement.
  • Extend your elbows, and return to the starting position. Repeat.
  • Perform 3 -5 sets of 10-15 reps.

4) JM Press

Discovered by elite bench presser J.M. Blakely, this exercise is a hybrid between close grip bench presses and skullcrushers. If you want to skyrocket your bench press numbers, don’t forget to add this movement to your arsenal of medial tricep head exercises.


  • Lay supine on a flat bench while holding a barbell straight above the shoulders, with a grip similar to the close grip bench press.
  • From this position, lower the bar to your forehead as in a skullcrusher.
  • The upper arms should be parallel to the the torso at the end point. Press back up. Repeat.
  • Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

5) Cable Rope Pushdown

Rope pushdowns are not the best medial tricep head exercises (Image via Instagram @chimtrains @fitlabx)
Rope pushdowns are not the best medial tricep head exercises (Image via Instagram @chimtrains @fitlabx)

Tricep pushdowns are one of the best exercises for overall tricep growth. This is the final move in the top five list of medial tricep head exercises for the following reasons:

  • Works the medial and lateral head almost equally according to EMG data
  • Can be used as a warm-up or finisher exercise
  • Great for the elbow mobility


  • Attach a rope to the highest pulley on the cable machine. Begin with the ropes at chest level.
  • Use an overhand grip to hold the rope.
  • Place your feet in an athletic position to form a stable base. Bend slightly at the waist and keep your back flat.
  • Push down till the elbows are fully extended while keeping them close to the body.
  • Return to the starting position slowly. Repeat.


Try to add at least one of the aforementioned medial tricep head exercises during your next arm day. Use a load that brings you to near failure while using a higher rep range.

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